Bascome: we need police presence in St George
Police are to hold consultations on how to provide a better police presence in the town of St George.
But a former mayor said yesterday that there were several buildings in the town that could be used as a police station.
Kenneth Bascome, also a former MP for the area, added that some could be pressed into service with “a little modification”.
He said: “With the number of residents and the number of visitors in St George’s from April, we need to have a facility for people to go and raise their concerns.”
Mr Bascome was speaking after Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley floated the idea of a stronger presence in St George’s, six years after the former police station was closed.
The station was shuttered in 2012 for repairs but has not been reopened since and the area is now covered by the Southside station in St David’s.
Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said in 2017 that the old station had deteriorated so much that it was no longer fit for use.
Mr Bascome said the town got about 2,000 visitors a day from April to October each year.
He added that a police station would help people to be more relaxed about walking around St George’s.
He added: “My belief is that if you have police on a continuous basis, a lot of problems could be nipped in the bud.”
Mr Bascome said: “I live here; I am out in St George’s early in the mornings, late at nights ... It is my community and I would like to see it prosper.”
He added that he would discuss his ideas for a police station in St George’s with Mr Corbishley.
Mr Bascome said: “Just having the police visible would let the residents feel safer. Sight deters.
A police spokesman explained the commissioner was committed to a police presence in St George’s as part of a move towards more community-based policing.
The reintroduction of parish constables in the next few weeks is expected to provide better contacts between officers and local communities across the island.
The spokesman said that “the commissioner recognises the challenges in establishing a more permanent police contact point, whether a station facility or a shared location with other partners.”
Quinell Francis, the Mayor of St George, was pleased that several options were being explored for a police station.
But she also wanted to see a policing plan for the historic town, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Ms Francis said: “The management plan for the World Heritage Site is currently being drafted and it is the concern of the Corporation of St George that a detailed policing and fire plan is required to ensure we maintain our World Heritage Site designation.”
Ms Francis pointed out that there has been a decrease in the police presence in St George’s over the years.
She added: “It is indeed good news that the BPS is restructuring and will be working with the community going forward.”
Ms Francis said: “We in the town look forward to working with the police commissioner and the Bermuda Police Service to ensure that St George has the necessary police patrols it deserves.”
Mr Caines said in 2017 that the old station on York Street would require huge amounts of work.
He added: “None of the many refurbishments have managed to fix the multitude of problems, including the roof and rotting joists.”
But Mr Caines said that a police move back to the town would be considered “if a suitable building is found in St George’s and there is a legitimate demand for enhanced police services”.